getspent - Linux


getspent is a command-line utility that allows users to retrieve information about network services and protocols by parsing the /etc/services file. It provides a convenient way to obtain details about various services and ports, making it a valuable tool for network administrators and developers.


getspent [-n] [-d delimiter] [-p] service


  • -n: Display the port number only.
  • -d delimiter: Specify a custom delimiter to separate fields in the output. By default, a colon is used.
  • -p: Display the protocol name only.


Display service information for the HTTP protocol:

getspent http


http      80/tcp

Get only the port number for the SSH service using a custom delimiter:

getspent -n -d , ssh



Common Issues

  • Missing /etc/services file: If the /etc/services file is missing or corrupt, getspent will not be able to retrieve any information.
  • Incorrect service name: Ensure that the service name specified is valid and matches the entry in the /etc/services file.


getspent can be integrated with other commands to automate tasks:

# Find all services using a specific port
find /etc/services -exec getspent -n {} \; | sort -n

Related Commands

  • getservbyname(3): Retrieves service information from the system’s network database.
  • /etc/services: The configuration file storing the network services and associated port numbers.